The Best Budget Laptops?

By that, I mean the laptops that offer the best features according to their category, at multiple price points up to $800.

Why write this article?

How much time do you have to research the best computer?

Many of us don’t have much time to read, or the knowledge to understand, detailed laptop specifications nor reviews and just want to know:
What’s the best budget laptop for my needs?

I’m here to help you with this article. I believe that you deserve the computer that is the best for your needs. That way, your computer is working for you and not the other way around. This allows you to focus your full potential on realizing what you want, without being limited by your computer.

With 17 years of experience with computer hardware, researching, always up-to-date research with the newest parts, performance and prices, I know what matters in a computer.
See my About page for more information on me, Mathieu Bourgie, and this website, Hardware Revolution

Here are the features that I evaluate in order to make my recommendations:

1. Price
2. Performance: CPU, RAM, Storage, Video Card and Wireless Adapter
3. Screen: Size, Resolution, Matte or Glossy, Panel type (TN, IPS, etc.), Brightness, Contrast, Viewing Angles and Color Accuracy
4. Portability: Dimensions, Weight, Real-life battery life during average web browsing?
5. Usability: Keyboard: Layout, Key size, Travel/Pressure, Key Shape and any additional Function keys. Touch pad quality, trackpoint, backlit keyboard, numpad, Operating System, which ports are offered, Webcam resolution, sound quality, optical Drive, noise levels.
6. Reliability: How solid is the chassis? Are the temperatures under load reasonable? How solid are the screen hinges? Is the keyboard spill-resistant? Overall manufacturer long-term reliability? How easy is it to service the laptop?
7. Warranty: Warranty length? What does the warranty cover?

I then recommend laptops that I think are the best at a given price, according to those features that I evaluated on the hundreds of laptops that I’ve considered during the research that I do to write this article.

I offer to you the result of that research, by making recommendations for the best budget laptops at multiple price points up to $800.

My goal:
Help you easily choose the best laptop for your needs and budget.

Put all of this together and you get this article. Because if you’re about to buy a laptop, might as well get the one that offers the best features possible for your budget, right?

Looking for all our articles on laptops?

Visit the Best Laptops For Your Money category page, for all our articles on laptops.

Summary

Click on any of these links to jump to the section that interests you.

The best mid-range laptops:

  1. Chromebooks: Inexpensive, runs Chrome OS, simple to use, secure
  2. Ultrabooks: Lightweight, small, thin, great battery life. Ideal for traveling.
    Standard screen ultrabook: If you want a regular lightweight laptop. 
    – 2-in-1 convertible screen: 360 degree hinge touchscreen, use it as a tablet, tent, etc.
    – Detachable screen 2-in-1 ultrabook: Detach the screen from the base, use it as a tablet.
  3. Apple Macbook: The iconic Apple laptops.
  4. Gaming laptops: The best gaming performance at a given price.
  5. Traditional 14-15.6″ laptop: Larger screens than ultrabooks but a bit heavier too
  6. 17.3″ entertainment: Laptops with an even larger 17.3″ screen and good speakers.
  7. Business laptops: Security, solid build, easy to service, fairly powerful, portable
  8. Power Users: Ideal for photo/video/3D editing: High-performance CPU, RAM, storage.
  9. Workstations: Powerful, reliable and with workstation-class video cards

Upgrade your laptop:

  1. Upgrade the RAM
  2. Upgrade the hard drive to a larger/faster model or to a SSD
  3. USB DVD and Blu-ray External Burners
  4. The Best WiFi Routers, WiFi Adapters and Bluetooth Adapters
  5. External Storage Drive

This article is based on the prices that I’ve seen at B&H, Newegg and/or Amazon on March 2nd 2018.

Prices and availability are subject to change. While I can’t keep up with ever changing prices, I do suggest to you outstanding laptops that you won’t regret buying.

Chromebook: Simple, inexpensive, secure, Chrome OS

About Chromebooks:

They are simple to setup and secure:
1- Setup is very simple and only takes a few minutes.
2- Your computer starts in a few seconds.
3- Installing software, through the Google App store, is easy.
4- No concern with updates, or complicated software installation, the OS does it for you automatically.
5- Battery life is generally above average to exceptional, depending on the model.

The Chrome OS is one of the most secure OS on the market. It includes security features such as sandboxing and categorizing websites that may be harmful. Chromebooks are outstanding at catching malware and viruses, so you’re unlikely to run into any problems of this sort.

Inexpensive and you can download many free applications:
Chromebooks are inexpensive computer compared to laptops running Windows, especially compared to Macbooks!

Need Office programs like Word, Excel, etc.? Google Docs offer Google equivalent for free, with automatic saving online, Google Drive to save and share your documents and the Google App store.

Chrome OS is a lightweight OS, so laptops running it boot quickly, feel snappy and are easy to use. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, great looking, simple to use and highly portable computer to browse the web, listen to music, read/write documents and stream videos, you should highly consider a Chromebook.

They are such great inexpensive laptops that we have a dedicated article for Chromebooks:
Find out the Best Chromebooks

Ultrabooks: Thin, lightweight

The Best Standard screen ultrabooks:

HP Stream 11 Pro G4

– $225.00 at B&H

About the HP Stream 11 Pro G4:

If you are looking for the most inexpensive laptop that’s highly portable (11.81 x 8.19 x 0.71″) lightweight (2.84lbs) and has up to 11 hours of battery life, the HP Stream 11 Pro G4 might be a good choice.

I say that this laptop might be a good choice because well let’s face it, to reach that low of a price, there are compromises of course.

The CPU, an Intel Quad-Core Celeron N3450 1.1-2.2 GHz CPU, is no powerhouse. It’s fine for web browsing, email, social media, Office (Word, Excel, etc.) and other light tasks, but don’t expect to run games or heavy applications on it. Also expect the laptop to be slower than laptops equipped with Intel Core CPUs. That said, it’s better than other, dual-core, Intel Celeron CPUs.

You only get a 64GB eMMC storage drive, with Windows using a good part of it, so storage is limited and can fill up pretty quickly. On the plus side, it’s solid state storage, so the compute is more responsive and more resistant to shock than with an hard drive. You can add more storage using the MicroSD card slot.

Finally, the 11.6″ screen has a low-resolution of 1366 x 768 and doesn’t offer wide viewing angles. It might also be too small, depending on your preferences.

Pros:

  1. Least expensive recommendation
  2. Intel Celeron N3450 Quad-Core 1.44-1.92GHz CPU: Not a powerhouse but at this price point a it is definitely a plus, compared to other similar models.
  3. Fanless: Silent
  4. MicroSD card slot : Useful to expand the storage capacity.
  5. 4GB of DDR3 RAM allows you to run a few programs at once.
  6. Great battery life of up to 11 hours.
  7. HDMI output to connect your display on a external screen.
  8. 802.11ac WiFi 2×2 Dual-Band by Intel
  9. Bluetooth 4.2
  10. Highly portable: 11.81 x 8.19 x 0.71″ and 2.84lbs
  11. Anti-glare screen doesn’t reflect light
  12. It passes MIL-STD 810G testing and is ready for daily bumps and dings with co-molded rubber edges.

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. Windows 10 S. Microsoft Edge is the default web browser and you can only install apps from the Microsoft store. You can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free until March 31st 2018.
  3. No numpad.
  4. Low 1366 x 768 HD resolution screen with a TN panel: Poor contrast, not accurate color reproduction and poor viewing angles.
  5. Limited storage capacity : 64GB, you’ll have about 20-30GB of free space left. Removing pre-installed bloatware is highly recommended. Storage can be extended with a micro SD memory card.
  6. Keyboard isn’t backlit
  7. No touchscreen
  8. Only two USB ports
  9. Poor webcam quality: VGA (640 x 480) resolution, grainy.

ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH55

– Click here to check the price on Amazon

About the ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH55:

Replacing the ASUS UX330UA-AH54, the ASUS UX330UA-AH55 offers the same great features that made me recommend its predecessor, with one major difference: You now get a much more powerful CPU:

-The previous model came with the 7th gen Intel Core i5-7200U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.1GHz CPU
– This model comes with the 8th gen Intel Core i5-8250U Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.6-3.4GHz CPU.

With twice the number of cores, this is a massive performance improvement. The higher Turbo frequencies also improves single-threaded performance, for things like web browsing.

Compared to the HP Stream Pro G4, the ASUS ZenBook UX330UA offers a far more powerful CPU, twice the RAM, two times the storage capacity, much higher storage performance, an higher resolution display with wide viewing angles and higher color fidelity, a fingerprint scanner and a backlit keyboard.

It’s also more portable, being lighter (2.6lbs vs 2.84lbs) and thinner, being 0.5″ thick compared to .71″ for the HP.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with a quite powerful Intel Core i5-8250U Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.6-3.4GHz CPU.
  2. IPS panel: Great contrast, vibrant colors and large viewing angles.
  3. 8GB of LPDR3 RAM allows you to run a good amount of programs at once and do several tasks.
  4. 256GB SSD for a more responsive system and a faster booting speed.
  5. Excellent battery life: Up to 12 hours while surfing the web with WiFi.
  6. 13.3″ screen with Full HD 1080p 1920 x 1080 resolution
  7. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect light
  8. SD card reader: Useful to copy photos from a camera, expand the storage capacity, etc.
  9. 2 x USB 3.0 and 1x USB 3.1 type-C ports
  10. 720p HD (1280 x 720) webcam
  11. MicroHDMI output
  12. Stylish aluminum build.
  13. Fingerprint scanner for extra authentification security, easy login with Windows Hello
  14. Backlit keyboard, with 1.5mm of key travel.
  15. Precise and responsive touchpad
  16. 802.11ac WiFi
  17. Surface temperature stays cool under heavy workload.
  18. Bluetooth 4.1
  19. Highly portable: 8.7 x 12.7 x 0.5″ and 2.6lbs
  20. Relatively powerful sound, for a small laptop.
  21. One year accidental damage protection warranty with ASUS.

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. No numpad, as is usually the case in 13.3″ laptops

The Best 2-in-1 convertible screen ultrabooks

Dell 11.6″ Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1

– Click here to see the price on Amazon

About the Dell 11.6″ Inspiron 11 3000:

A good choice if you are looking for an inexpensive convertible laptop that can do everyday tasks such as emails, web, documents and movies while being highly portable and having a good battery life.

It is equipped with a Intel 7th generation Core m3-7y30 2 cores/4 threads 1.0-2.6GHz CPU, which is fine when it comes to everyday tasks. It offers significantly higher performance than Atom, Pentium and Celeron CPUs, as it’s based on the same high performance architecture as the Core i3, i5 and i7 CPUs found in higher-end laptops.

One big pro of the Intel Core m3-7y30 is that it sips power, meaning that you get a fanless, silent laptop, with a good battery life.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel 7th generation Core m3-7y30 2 cores/4 threads 1.0-2.6GHz CPU.
  2. 500GB Hard Drive for a decent amount of storage.
  3. 4GB of DDR3 RAM allows you to have multiple web browser tabs and a few lightweight applications open at once.
  4. Windows 10 Home
  5. 2-in-1 convertible screen to switch to tablet mode for whatever suits your needs.
  6. Good Battery : up to 8hrs.
  7. MicroSD card reader.
  8. 720p HD Webcam.
  9. 1x USB 3.0 port and 2x USB 2.0 port.
  10. HDMI output to plug your device on a external screen.
  11. Dedicated volume buttons
  12. Thin and light: 11.48″ x 7.95″ x 0.8″ inches and 3.2lbs
  13. Bluetooth 4.0

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. HD 1366 x 768 display resolution. Fine considering the screen size, but it’s no Full HD 1080 1920 x 1080 display
  3. No numpad
  4. WiFi is limited to 802.11b/g/n, no 802.11ac support is disappointing in 2018.
  5. 5400 rpm hard drive is slow: it makes the whole computer feel less responsive, Windows and apps take longer to load. They are also less shock-resistant, heavier and less reliable than SSD drives.
  6. RAM is soldered and cannot be upgraded.

Acer Spin 5

– Click here to check the price on Amazon

About the Acer Spin 5:

If you are looking for a convertible laptop that offers significantly better overall performance than the above recommendation, this is the model you are looking for.

It is equipped with the much more powerful 8th gen Intel Core i5-8250U Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.6-3.4GHz CPU. Compared to the CPU in the Dell above, you get twice the number of cores, as well as higher frequencies, resulting in higher performance in all cases.

The Acer Spin 5 is also equipped with a flash drive (SSD) instead of a traditional hard drive found in the Dell Inspiron 11 3000, meaning that the laptop boots much more quickly, is more responsive, more reliable and more shock resistant.

Battery life is also better, at up to 13 hours.

Pros:

  1. 8th gen Intel Core i5-8250U Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.6-3.4GHz CPU.
  2. M.2 SATA III 256GB SSD for fast boot and a more responsive system.
  3. 2-in-1 convertible screen to switch to laptop, display, tent or tablet mode for whatever suits your needs.
  4. 8GB of DDR4 RAM.
  5. Great Battery life: up to 13hrs.
  6. Thin and light : 12.77″ x 8.9″ x 0.63″ and 3.31lbs
  7. Touchscreen with IPS display panel for better contrasts, accurate colors and larger view angles.
  8. Full size SD card reader
  9. Backlit keyboard
  10. HD Webcam.
  11. Fingerprint reader
  12. 4 USB ports: 1xUSB Type-C, 2x USB 3.0 Type-A (including one with off-charging) and 1x USB 2.0 port.
  13. Type-C port (USB 3.1 Gen 1) that supports DisplayPort over USB-C, with an adapter, this technology enables the Type-C port to function as a second video output.
  14. The Type-C port can also be used to charge the battery, though the USB charging device must have a power rating of at least 45 watts and a voltage supply of 15 to 20 volts.
  15. HDMI output
  16. 802.11ac WiFi MU-MIMO
  17. Bluetooth 4.1
  18. Dedicated volume and power buttons
  19. Good build quality, case made out of aluminum

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. No RJ-45 LAN Ethernet port
  3. RAM is soldered and cannot be upgraded
  4. Refurbished: Warranty is limited to 90 days, although most problems show up in the first 90 days. Directly refurbished and sold from the manufacturer.

Lenovo Flex 5

– Click here to check the price on Amazon

About the Lenovo Flex 5:

Compared to the Acer Spin 5 above, you get the same CPU and RAM.

What you gain with the Lenovo is higher performance storage, with a M.2 PCIe 128GB SSD, which offers 2-3x the performance of the SATA III M.2 SSD found in the Acer Spin 5.

You also get more storage in total, thanks to the combo of the 128GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive. So if you want high performance and lots of storage, the Lenovo Flex 5 is a more interesting solution than the Acer Spin 5.

You also get a stylus to use with the touchscreen.

On the downside, the battery life drops to 7 hours, compared to up to 13 hours for the Acer.

Pros:

  1. 8th gen Intel Core i5-8250U Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.6-3.4GHz CPU.
  2. M.2 PCIe 128GB SSD for fast boot and a more responsive system.
  3. 1TB hard drive for additional storage capacity
  4. 2-in-1 convertible screen to switch to laptop, display, tent or tablet mode for whatever suits your needs.
  5. 8GB of DDR4 RAM.
  6. Good Battery life: up to 7hrs.
  7. Thin and light : 12.77″ x 8.9″ x 0.63″ and 3.74lbs
  8. Touchscreen with IPS display panel for better contrasts, accurate colors and larger view angles.
  9. Full size SD card reader
  10. Backlit keyboard
  11. HD Webcam.
  12. Fingerprint reader
  13. 3 USB ports: 1xUSB Type-C, 2x USB 3.0 Type-A (including one with off-charging)
  14. HDMI output
  15. 802.11ac WiFi
  16. Bluetooth 4.1
  17. Dedicated volume and power buttons
  18. Good build quality, case made out of aluminum
  19. Included stylus

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. No RJ-45 LAN Ethernet port
  3. RAM is soldered and cannot be upgraded
  4. Refurbished: Warranty is limited to 90 days, although most problems show up in the first 90 days. Directly refurbished and sold from the manufacturer.

Hp Envy x360

1TB hard drive + 128GB SSD: Click here to check the price on Amazon

About the HP Envy x360:

If you are looking for a convertible laptop that let’s you play video games too, this is an interesting option.

Equipped with the new AMD Ryzen 5 2500U APU, a processor that combines
– A 4 cores/8 threads CPU running at 2.0-3.6GHz, that trade blows with the latest 8th gen Core i5-8250U and Core i7-8550U from Intel
– A potent AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 integrated graphic chip, that’s way faster than Intel can offer and can handle most video games, although with low/medium settings for more demanding games, but still!

On the downside, the HP Envy x360 is equipped with a 15.6″ screen, meaning that it’s heavier than options equipped with smaller displays, weighting in at 4.81lbs

Pros:

  1. AMD Ryzen 5 2500U Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.0-3.6GHz CPU.
  2. Powerful integrated graphic processor, AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
  3. High capacity 1TB hard drive, available with a 128, 256 or 512GB SSD
  4. 2-in-1 convertible screen to switch to laptop, display, tent or tablet mode for whatever suits your needs.
  5. 8GB of DDR4 RAM.
  6. Good Battery life: up to 8hrs of web browsing.
  7. Thin
  8. Solid chassis
  9. Touchscreen with IPS display panel for better contrasts and large view angles.
  10. Full size SD card reader
  11. Backlit keyboard
  12. HD Webcam.
  13. 3 USB ports: 1xUSB Type-C, 2x USB 3.0 Type-A
  14. HDMI 2.0b output
  15. 802.11ac WiFi MU-MIMO
  16. Bluetooth 4.1
  17. Dedicated volume and power buttons
  18. Fairly fast charge: From nearly empty to full in 1.5 hours

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. Despite the IPS panel, maximum brightness is fairly low and the covered color space isn’t that wide.
  3. No RJ-45 LAN Ethernet port

2-in-1 Detachable screen ultrabook

Acer Switch Alpha 12

Core i3-6100U/4GB RAM/128GB SSD, without stylus:
– $429.00$ at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Core i7-6500U/8GB RAM/256GB SSD, with stylus:
– Click here to check the price on Amazon

About the Acer Switch Alpha 12:

Most detachable 2-in-1 computers have low performance Atom or Celeron CPUs, which are barely adequate for web browsing, let alone anything more demanding. The Acer Switch Alpha 12 comes with higher performance Intel Core i3 or i7 CPUs, so it’s capable of handling everyday tasks, web browsing, Microsoft Office, video, social media, some light photo editing, etc.

If you plan on running more demanding programs or doing multitasking, go with the higher end model equipped with the faster CPU and 8GB of RAM instead of 4GB.

You have the choice between two CPUs:
1. The Intel Core i3-6100U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.3GHz CPU
2. The Intel Core i7-6500U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.1GHz CPU

RAM wise, you have the choice between 4GB and 8GB. I’d go with the 8GB model, as it will age better, seeing as RAM usage keeps going up as years go by.

Also, be aware that the entry-level model does not include a stylus, while the higher-end model does.

It comes with a gorgeous, high resolution 2160 x 1440 display.

If you’re looking for a low-cost alternative to the Microsoft Surface, this is an excellent choice.

For its great price and even better features, this is the best budget detachable 2-in-1 laptop on the market.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i3-6100U or Core i7-6500U.
  2. 128 or 256GB SSD for fast boot and a more responsive system.
  3. 2-in-1 detachable screen to switch to tablet mode for whatever suits your needs.
  4. Fanless
  5. Available with 4 or 8GB of RAM.
  6. Good Battery Life: up to 8hrs.
  7. Lightweight, highly portable : 11.5 x 0.6 x 7.9″ and 2.76lbs.
  8. Better than Full HD resolution: 2160 x 1440
  9. IPS display panel for better contrasts, acurate colors and larger view angles.
  10. MicroSD card reader to add an extra MicroSD card to add more storage for your music, videos and images.
  11. 5MP (2592 x 1944) rear facing and 2MP (1920 x 1080) front facing cameras.
  12. 1x USB 3.1 Type-C port (supports Displayport over USB Type-C) and 1x USB 3.0 port.
  13. 802.11ac 2×2 MU-MIMO WiFi
  14. Bluetooth 4.0
  15. Included backlit keyboard
  16. Two built-in front facing speakers.
  17. Dedicated volume buttons

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. No RJ-45 LAN Ethernet port

Apple Macbook

Apple MacBook Air 11 (MJVM2LL/A)

Click here to check the price on Amazon

About the MacBook Air 11:

This is my recommendation if you want an Apple Macbook at the lowest cost possible.

This laptop is highly portable, solid, reliable, has an excellent battery life, great backlit keyboard and an excellent trackpad.

This Macbook is a refurbished item, meaning it has been restored to work and look like a new product, with minimal to no signs of wear, by a specialized third-party seller approved by Amazon.

Pros:

  1. Least expensive Macbook laptop.
  2. Incredibly thin and lightweight: Only 2.38lbs and 0.11-0.68″ thick. Perfect if you’re traveling and often on the move.
  3. It’s an Apple computer: Mac OS X, Time Machine backup (automatically backs up system data to an external hard drive), many built-in apps, highly reliable, excellent customer service
  4. Excellent keyboard, great for typing
  5. Backlit keyboard
  6. High-end performance storage makes your computer feel more responsive.
  7. Very quiet: The fan is hardly audible, unless you push the CPU to 100% for a long time.
  8. Long battery life: 10 hours of web browsing
  9. Solid chassis: All-aluminum unibody
  10. Solid screen hinge
  11. Excellent trackpad, with great multi-touch support
  12. MagSafe power connector which automatically detaches from your laptop if you pull on it, preventing your Macbook from accidentally falling if you trip on the power cord.
  13. Bluetooth 4.0

Cons:

  1. Limited amount of ports: 2x USB 3.0, one ThunderBolt 2 (Mini DisplayPort via Thunderbolt port) and a combo audio jack.
  2. Low screen resolution: Only 1366 x 768 resolution. Poor compared to the Macbook 12″ or Macbook Pro with their high-resolution Retina displays.
  3. Average CPU performance: Great for web browsing, music, Office work and lightweight programs. Not ideal for heavy photo/video editing, heavy multitasking or demanding programs where high sustained CPU performance is required. You’ll want a more powerful CPU and possibly more RAM for better performance, so consider a Macbook Pro instead.
  4. Limited GPU (graphic card) performance. Forget playing modern video games or 3D rendering: you want a dedicated video card for that. Once again, a Macbook Pro would be a better option.
  5. No LAN port
  6. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  7. No Numpad
  8. Limited amount of storage
  9. Limited amount of RAM: 4GB is fine for web browsing, music, Office work and lightweight programs. Not ideal for heavy photo/video editing, heavy multitasking or demanding programs.
  10. The Macbook Air RAM cannot be upgraded: It’s soldered. The SSD storage can be upgraded if you have the right tool, don’t mind following a guide to disassemble your Macbook Air and a guide to copy your data.

Gaming laptops

If you are looking for a budget gaming laptop, we have a whole article on the subject, click here to see our article on the Best Budget Gaming Laptops.

Traditional 14-15.6″ laptop

Acer Aspire E5-575-33BM:

Click here to get the price on Amazon

About the Acer Aspire E5-575-33BM:

The Acer Aspire E 15 offers amazing value for the money.

It is equipped with a relatively powerful 7th generation Intel Core i3-7100U CPU, a screen with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, it offers a up to 12 hours battery life, high-performance 802.11ac MU-MIMO WiFi, a backlit keyboard and four USB 3.0 ports (including an USB Type-C port)!

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i3-7100U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.4GHz CPU.
  2. Hard Drive and RAM are easy to access by removing a panel on the bottom.
  3. RAM can be upgraded to up to 32GB.
  4. Screen with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution
  5. Screen with wide viewing angles and wide color gamut: 94% of NTSC color space.
  6. Great battery life: up to 12 hours per charge, varies depending on your usage.
  7. Body finish that prevents fingerprints
  8. Large storage capacity: 1TB
  9. Backlit keyboard : it’s easier to see your keys when typing where there is less light.
  10. Four USB Ports: Two 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, and one USB 3.1 (Type C) port.
  11. HDMI and VGA Outputs to plug in your display to an external screen.
  12. SD card reader for SD Cards : Can be useful for extra storage or to upload media from devices such as cameras.
  13. 802.11ac MU-MIMO WiFi
  14. Optical drive
  15. HD webcam
  16. Numpad
  17. Bluetooth 4.1

Cons:

  1. 4GB of RAM is enough for web browsing, Office and basic workloads, but you’ll need more for multitasking and heavier programs.
  2. 5,400rpm hard drive which means the system is less responsive and takes some time to boot.
  3. Average build quality. It’s all plastic and it could be better.
  4. Keyboard layout could be better: the up and down arrow keys are half-size and the power button is part of the keyboard.

ASUS VivoBook F510UA:

1TB hard drive: – Click here to check the price on Amazon
128GB SSD + 1TB hard drive: – Click here to check the price on Amazon

About the ASUS VivoBook F510UA:

If you’re looking for better performance all around, better build quality, as well as a lighter and thinner design, the ASUS VivoBook F510UA is an excellent step up compared to the Acer laptop recommended above.

It’s equipped with a more powerful Intel Core i5-8250U 8th gen processor, which offers 4 cores instead of two and it has twice the RAM with 8GB of DDR4 RAM.

It’s also significantly lighter and thinner, weighting in at 3.7lbs and being .8″ thin.

The laptop comes with a 1TB hard drive, so you have plenty of storage space. If you want more performance and don’t mind opening a laptop to upgrade it yourself, you can add a SATA III M.2 SSD drive in the free M.2 slot.

You can also buy it with a 128GB SSD and the 1TB hard drive, if you want a simple option that doesn’t require you opening your new laptop.

If you want a fingerprint reader, a backlit keyboard, an aluminum cover and or a 256GB SSD, see the ASUS Vivobook S recommended below.

Pros:

  1. 8th gen Intel Core i5-8250U Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.6-3.4GHz CPU.
  2. 8GB of DDR4 RAM that can be upgraded up to 32GB (2x16GB)
  3. Two RAM slots: One equipped with 8GB, the other one is empty
  4. Screen with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution.
  5. Screen with an IPS panel: Good contrast, more accurate color reproduction and good viewing angles.
  6. Windows 10
  7. Empty M.2 slot allows you to add a M.2 SSD. Note that only SATA III M.2 SSDs are supported.
  8. Great battery life of up to 8 hours.
  9. HDMI output to connect external screens or HDTV.
  10. 1x USB 3.0 port, 2 x USB 2.0 ports,  and 1 x USB 3.1 (Type C) port
  11. SD card reader: Can be useful for extra storage or to upload media from devices such as cameras.
  12. 802.11 ac WiFi
  13. Numpad
  14. Bluetooth 4.1
  15. Lightweight for a 15.6″ laptop: Only 3.7lbs

Cons:

  1. Keyboard isn’t backlit.
  2. No numpad
  3. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  4. Hard drive only model: 5400rpm hard drive which means the system is less responsive and takes some time to boot.

ASUS VivoBook S S510UA-DS51:

Core i5-8250U CPU: – Click here to see the price on Amazon
Core i7-8550U CPU: – Click here to see the price on Amazon

ASUS VivoBook S S510UA-DS51:

This laptop is basically a faster and premium version of the ASUS Vivobook recommended above.

Here’s what you gain compared to the ASUS Vivobook F510UA:
– A SSD (Solid State Storage), which means that your PC boots much faster, is more responsive, apps open nearly instantly, is more shock resistant and more reliable.
– A fingerprint reader
– An aluminum cover
– A backlit keyboard

Pros:

  1. 8th gen Intel Core i5-8250U Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.6-3.4GHz CPU or
    8th gen Intel Core i7-8550U Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.8-4.0GHz CPU.
  2. 8GB of DDR4 RAM that can be upgraded up to 32GB (2x16GB)
  3. Two RAM slots: One equipped with 8GB, the other one is empty
  4. Screen with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution.
  5. Screen with an IPS panel: Good contrast, more accurate color reproduction and good viewing angles.
  6. Windows 10
  7. Great battery life of up to 8 hours.
  8. HDMI output to connect external screens or HDTV.
  9. 1x USB 3.0 port, 2 x USB 2.0 ports,  and 1 x USB 3.1 (Type C) port
  10. SD card reader: Can be useful for extra storage or to upload media from devices such as cameras.
  11. 802.11 ac WiFi
  12. Backlit keyboard
  13. Numpad
  14. Bluetooth 4.1
  15. Lightweight for a 15.6″ laptop: Only 3.7lbs
  16. 1 year international warranty

Cons:

  1. No numpad
  2. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.

Dell Inspiron:

1TB hard drive: – Click here to check the price on Amazon
120GB SSD + 1TB hard drive: – Click here to see the price on Amazon

Dell Inspiron:

Do you want a traditional 15.6″ laptop with a great display, a backlit keyboard, a touchscreen, a DVD drive, a high performance CPU and 8GB of RAM, capable of handling everyday tasks with ease and speed?

It’s available in two versions, one with only a 1TB hard drive and other with a 1TB and a 120GB SSD.

I highly recommend getting the second option, with the 120GB SSD and the 1TB hard drive.

It will make your laptop boot much more quickly, feel more responsive and make your apps open far more quickly. It’s worth the additional cost, it’s basically day and night when it comes to how responsive your laptop feels. If you want the experience of a modern laptop, get the model with the 120GB SSD and the 1TB hard drive.

Pros:

  1. 8th gen Intel Core i5-8250U Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.6-3.4GHz CPU.
  2. 8GB of DDR4 RAM
  3. Screen with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution.
  4. Screen with an IPS panel: Good contrast, more accurate color reproduction and good viewing angles.
  5. Windows 10
  6. Battery life of 5-7 hours.
  7. HDMI output to connect external screens or HDTV.
  8. 2x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x USB 2.0 port
  9. SD card reader: Can be useful for extra storage or to upload media from devices such as cameras.
  10. 802.11 ac WiFi
  11. DVD drive
  12. Backlit keyboard
  13. Numpad
  14. RJ-45 LAN port
  15. Bluetooth 4.2
  16. Lightweight for a 15.6″ laptop: Only 3.7lbs
  17. 1 year international warranty

Cons:

  1. No USB Type-C port

Acer Swift 3 with AMD Ryzen CPU with integrated AMD Radeon graphics:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon

Acer Swift 3 with AMD Ryzen CPU with integrated AMD Radeon graphics:

This laptop is basically a faster and premium version of the ASUS Vivobook recommended above.

Here’s what you gain compared to the ASUS Vivobook F510UA:
– A SSD (Solid State Storage), which means that your PC boots much faster, is more responsive, apps open nearly instantly, is more shock resistant and more reliable.
– A fingerprint reader
– An aluminum cover
– A backlit keyboard

Pros:

  1. 8th gen Intel Core i5-8250U Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.6-3.4GHz CPU.
  2. 8GB of DDR4 RAM that can be upgraded up to 32GB (2x16GB)
  3. Two RAM slots: One equipped with 8GB, the other one is empty
  4. Screen with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution.
  5. Screen with an IPS panel: Good contrast, more accurate color reproduction and good viewing angles.
  6. Windows 10
  7. Empty M.2 slot allows you to add a M.2 SSD. Note that only SATA III M.2 SSDs are supported.
  8. Great battery life of up to 8 hours.
  9. HDMI output to connect external screens or HDTV.
  10. 1x USB 3.0 port, 2 x USB 2.0 ports,  and 1 x USB 3.1 (Type C) port
  11. SD card reader: Can be useful for extra storage or to upload media from devices such as cameras.
  12. 802.11 ac WiFi
  13. Numpad
  14. Bluetooth 4.1
  15. Lightweight for a 15.6″ laptop: Only 3.7lbs
  16. 1 year international warranty

Cons:

  1. No numpad
  2. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.

Acer Swift 3, upgraded by CUK:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon

Acer Swift 3, upgraded by CUK:

This laptop is an upgraded version of the Acer Swift 3.

So you get the quad-core Intel i5-8250U, along with 8GB but a big upgrade storage wise, with a 512GB NVMe SSD. NVMe SSD offer higher performance than SATA III SS. You also get more storage than other SSDs limited to 120GB or 256GB, with 512GB of storage.

Another big pro? CUK, the company that upgraded this laptop, throws in a 3 years warranty!

Pros:

  1. 8th gen Intel Core i5-8250U Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.6-3.4GHz CPU.
  2. 8GB of DDR4 RAM
  3. Screen with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution.
  4. Screen with an IPS panel: Good contrast, more accurate color reproduction and good viewing angles.
  5. Windows 10
  6. Great battery life of up to 8 hours.
  7. HDMI output to connect external screens or HDTV.
  8. 1x USB 3.0 port, 2 x USB 2.0 ports,  and 1 x USB 3.1 (Type C) port
  9. SD card reader: Can be useful for extra storage or to upload media from devices such as cameras.
  10. 802.11 ac WiFi
  11. Numpad
  12. Bluetooth 4.1
  13. Lightweight for a 15.6″ laptop: Only 3.7lbs
  14. 3 years warranty

Cons:

  1. No numpad
  2. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.

Traditional 14-15.6″ laptop worldwide alternative

Unfortunately when it comes to traditional 14-15.6″ laptops as a worldwide alternative, B&H doesn’t offer much that compares to my current recommendations.

The laptops that are around the same price point are simply not good enough in terms of performance and features. This is why if you are looking for a worldwide alternative from B&H, I recommend going for the Acer 13.3″ Spin convertible laptop, that I also recommend in the best 2-in-1 convertible ultrabook category.

It has a smaller screen, but has great features and a good performance, similar to the Acer Swift 3 and the Acer Aspire E5-575-521W. It is also available in multiple configurations, which gives you plenty of options and price points to chose from.

Check out the Acer spin 5 by clicking here to view my recommendation.

17.3″ entertainment and desktop replacement laptop

Lenovo 17.3″ Ideapad 320 80XM0000US:

Click here to see the price on Amazon
$549.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the Lenovo 17.3″ Ideapad 320 80XM0000US:

A great entry-level 17.3″ laptop, at a very reasonable price.

You get a fairly powerful dual-core CPU with 8GB of RAM, to handle most tasks without slowing down.

You also get a large capacity 1TB HDD and a rare thing nowadays, a DVD drive.

You also get a fingerprint reader, a nice touch on a budget laptop.

Pros:

  1.  Good CPU: 7th generation Core i5-7200U Dual-core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.1GHz.
  2. 1TB hard drive which is a decent amount of storage
  3. 1600 x 900 HD+ resolution.
  4. Windows 10
  5. 1 xUSB 3.1 Type C, 2 xUSB 3.0 Type A
  6. HDMI output to connect your display to an external display.
  7. Ethernet RJ45 port for a direct internet connection.
  8. SD card reader : Can be useful for extra storage or to upload media from devices such as cameras.
  9. 8GB of RAM.
  10. HD Webcam
  11. Optical drive
  12. Numpad
  13. DVD drive
  14. Fingerprint reader
  15. Access to the RAM and hard drive, to easily upgrade.

Cons:

  1. TN panel: Poor contrast, not accurate color reproduction and poor viewing angles.
  2. Poor integrated video card performance: Fine for web, office and the like. Forget about gaming.
  3. No dedicated left and right click buttons.
  4. Hard drive is a 5400rpm model, not as fast as a 7200rpm or hydrid hard drive, no where as fast as a SSD.
  5. Limited battery life, at up to 5 hours.

Acer Aspire 5 A517-51-54UG:

Core i5-8250U CPU: Click here to see the price on Amazon
Core i7-8550U CPU: – Click here to see the price on Amazon

About the Acer Aspire 5 A517-51-54UG:

Compared to the Lenovo above, you get a significantly more powerful laptop, as well as a longer battery life, with up to 7 hours instead of up to 5 hours.

You get a quad-core CPU instead of a dual-core CPU. So if you run heavy applications, want to convert videos quickly or multitask a lot, this is a better choice.

Despite its low price, it’s no slouch. This laptop is equipped with a powerful quad-core 8th gen Intel Core i5-8250U or even more powerful Core i7-8550U CPU and enough RAM, 8GB, to handle most tasks without slowing down.

You also get a large capacity 1TB HDD and a rare thing nowadays, a DVD drive.

Another rare thing for a big 17.3″ laptop, its battery life is actually decent, at up to 7 hours.

Pros:

  1.  Powerful CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5-8250U Quad-core + Hyper-Threading 1.6-3.4GHz or
    8th generation Intel Core i7-8550U Quad-core + Hyper-Threading 1.8-4.0GHz
  2. 1TB hard drive which is a decent amount of storage
  3. 1600 x 900 HD+ resolution.
  4. Windows 10
  5. 1 xUSB 3.1 Type C, 1 xUSB 3.0 Type A (with power-off charging), 2 x USB 2.0 ports
  6. HDMI output to connect your display to an external display.
  7. Ethernet RJ45 port for a direct internet connection.
  8. SD card reader : Can be useful for extra storage or to upload media from devices such as cameras.
  9. 8GB of RAM.
  10. HD Webcam
  11. Optical drive
  12. Numpad
  13. DVD drive
  14. 180 degree lay-flat display prevents damage from pushing the screen too far.
  15. Access to the RAM and hard drive, to easily upgrade.
  16. Decent battery life, at up to 7 hours

Cons:

  1. TN panel: Poor contrast, not accurate color reproduction and poor viewing angles.
  2. Poor integrated video card performance: Fine for web, office and the like. Forget about gaming.
  3. No dedicated left and right click buttons.
  4. Hard drive is a 5400rpm model, not as fast as a 7200rpm or hydrid hard drive, no where as fast as a SSD.

Business laptops

HP 14″ EliteBook 840 G1:
– $399.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the HP 14″ EliteBook 840 G1:

Featuring an Intel Core i5-4200U 1.6-2.6GHz dual-core + Hyper-Threading CPU, combined with 8GB of RAM and a 480GB SSD drive, this laptop is plenty fast for everyday Office tasks, being equipped to handle everyday and moderate tasks on top of being able to multi-task quite easily.

The SSD (Solid State Drive) has no moving part unlike an hard drive, meaning that it offers higher performance than a traditional hard drive as well as being more reliable and shock-resistant.

Weighting in at 3.48lbs, it’s also fairly lightweight.

The main drawback is the display. It’s a low resolution (1366 x 768) display with a TN panel, meaning limited viewing angles. If you’re fine with that, this is an excellent entry-level business laptop.

Pros:

  1. High quality build, made of magnesium and aluminum, MIL-STD 810G tested,
  2. Secured BIOS with support for Intel’s Anti-Theft technology,
  3. TPM (TCG 1.2) encryption
  4. Fingerprint and smart card reader for better authentication security.
  5. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-4200U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.6-2.6GHz CPU.
  6. Windows 10 Pro
  7. 8GB of DDR3L RAM that can be upgraded up to 16GB.
  8. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect light
  9. Easy maintenance: Easily removable bottom panel, with access to cooling fan, RAM, Wireless cards, M.2 slot, battery and 2.5″ drive bay
  10. 4 x USB 3.0 ports
  11. SD card reader
  12. Displayport and VGA output.
  13. RJ-45 LAN Ethernet port
  14. HD webcam
  15. Bluetooth 4.0
  16. Two rows of dedicated mouse buttons
  17. Good keyboard and touchpad
  18. Backlit keyboard
  19. Pointstick
  20. Silent under light load, still quiet under heavier loads
  21. Stays cool under heavy load.
  22. Decent speakers, but lack bass

Cons:

  1. Screen with TN panel: Poor contrast, not accurate color reproduction and poor viewing angles.
  2. Display resolution is limited to 1366 x 768
  3. WiFi is limited to 802.11n, not the newer and faster 802.11ac standard
  4. No numpad
  5. No optical drive
  6. No USB Type-C
  7. Refurbished, directly from HP, you still get a 1 year warranty

Lenovo ThinkPad E570:
– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $763.81 at B&H (Worldwide shipping)

About the Lenovo ThinkPad E570:

Compared to the HP Elitebook, the Lenovo Thinkpad offers considerably more performance, as well as a far superior display.

CPU wise, you get the more recent Intel Core i5-7200U, a 2.5-3.1GHz Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading CPU. Along with 8GB of RAM and a 180GB PCIe SSD, this laptop can handle heavier loads without any problem.

The 180GB SSD improves responsiveness, booting speed, reliability as well as shock resistance compared to an hard drive.

Pros:

  1. TPM, BIOS password and CompuTrace support.
  2. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-7200U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.1GHz CPU.
  3. Decent battery life: Expect 7 hours of web browsing with WiFi
  4. Windows 10 Pro
  5. 8GB (1x8GB) of DDR4 RAM that can be upgraded up to 32GB (2x16GB).
  6. Easy maintenance: Two screws to remove the bottom panel to access the 2.5″ drive bay, RAM, M.2 SSD, and Wi-Fi
  7. Matte display with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  8. IPS panel: Great contrast, vibrant colors and large viewing angles.
  9. Good typing experience
  10. 2 x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0 ports
  11. SD card reader
  12. HDMI and VGA output.
  13. Fingerprint reader
  14. Dedicated left and right click buttons
  15. Trackpoint
  16. Silent under light loads, not too noisy under heavy loads
  17. Fairly good speakers
  18. HD 720p webcam
  19. Bluetooth 4.1
  20. Battery can be swapped
  21. Numpad
  22. Optical drive

Cons:

  1. Build quality is okay. The case is plastic, isn’t stiff, the display will transmit pressure.
  2. Limited storage capacity, but you can always upgrade the storage if you need more.
  3. No backlit keyboard

Best Laptop for Power Users

Acer Aspire E 15:

Intel Core i5-8250U: – Click here to see the price on Amazon
Intel Core i7-8550U: – Click here to see the price on Amazon

About the Acer Aspire E 15:

If you are looking to get a relatively powerful laptop at a budget cost, this is my recommendation.

Other than the price, there’s one difference between the two models that I recommend: The CPU.

Both the Core i5-8250U and the Core i7-8550U have four cores with Hyper-Threading, enabling them to handle 8 threads.

The difference between the two is the frequency: The Core i5-8250U runs at 1.6-3.4GHz, while the Core i7-8550U runs at 1.8-4.0GHz.

We’re talking about roughly 11 to 18% more performance for the Core i7-8550U compared to the Core i5-8250U. It’s a considerable difference, just like the considerable difference in price between the two models. If you know that you always need more CPU processing power and can afford it, go with the Core i7-8550U. If your budget is tighter, go with the Core i5-8250U, it offers the best value, offering most of the performance, still being a high-performance quad-core CPU, at a lower price.

Other than the CPU, both models have the same features.

Both are equipped with a dedicated graphic card, the Nvidia MX 150, with 2GB of dedicated high speed GDDR5 memory, this is a capable graphic card that will have no problem handling 3D, video and photo editing. It will also allow you to play video games, although with lower graphic settings, depending on how demanding the video games is.

You get 8GB (1x8GB) of DDR4 RAM which is a good starting point for some multi-tasking. You can upgrade to 32GB (2x16GB).

Storage wise, you get a 256GB SATA III SSD, on a M.2 stick. There’s an empty 2.5″ drive bay, allowing you to add a 2.5″ hard drive or SSD. However, you need the optional kit from Acer to allow you to install a drive in the 2.5″ bay. Here is a link on how to install it: http://acer.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/43054

Finally, you can a high resolution, Full HD, 1920 x 1080 display, with an IPS panel, for better contrast, more accurate colors and wide viewing angles.

Yes, you even get a backlit keyboard!

Oh, I almost forgot: Up to 15 hours of battery life! Simply outstanding from such a powerful laptop.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with a quad-core CPU: Intel Core i5-8250U or Core i7-8550U
  2. Dedicated graphic card: Nvidia MX 150 2GB GDDR5
  3. Windows 10
  4. 256GB M.2 SATA III SSD
  5. Empty 2.5″ drive to allow you to add a 2.5″ hard drive or SSD.
  6. 8GB of DDR4 RAM
  7. Supports up to 32GB of RAM ( 2 x 16GB )
  8. 802.11ac Dual-Band WiFi with MU-MIMO support
  9. Bottom panel is easy to remove, only a few screws: RAM, M.2 SSD drive and 2.5″ drive bay are accessible.
  10. Display with Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution.
  11. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect light.
  12. Screen with IPS panel, for good contrast, better color accuracy and wide viewing angles
  13. VGA and HDMI outputs
  14. 1x USB Type-C, 2 x USB 3.0 and 1 x USB 2.0
  15. DVD drive
  16. Bluetooth 4.1
  17. RJ45 LAN Ethernet Port
  18. HD Webcam, better than VGA webcam found on some laptops
  19. Backlit keyboard
  20. SD card reader
  21. Numpad

Cons:

  1. No dedicated trackpad buttons.
  2. Build quality is okay, not great but okay. It’s made of plastic.

Workstations

Lenovo ThinkPad W540:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon

About the Lenovo ThinkPad W540:

If you are looking  for a great budget mobile workstation at a relatively low price, the Lenovo Thinkpad W540 is the way to go.

It is equipped with an older but quite powerful Intel i7-4800QM Quad-core + Hyper-threading 2.7-3.7GHz CPU combined with a Nvidia K1100M 2GB workstation class graphic card which is suitable for doing light work using editing and softwares such as Autodesk CAD or Adobe Photoshop and similar apps.

It’s currently available in three options. Click on “Used and new from” to see the available options. I recommend the three options from “GoGet Computers”.
– 16GB of RAM, 1920 x 1080 display with TN panel, 256GB SSD
– 32GB of RAM, 2880 x 1620 display with IPS panel, 256GB SSD
– 32GB of RAM, 2880 x 1620 display with IPS panel, 512GB SSD

If your budget is a bit tighter and you aren’t doing color critical work, the first one is a great choice. If you need or want a proper IPS panel, with more accurate colors, better contrast and viewing angles and or just the higher resolution, pick the second or third option depending your storage needs.

This is a refurbished product, meaning it has been restored to work and look like a new product. You also get a 1 year warranty.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with a Intel Core i7-4800QM Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.7-3.7GHz Quad Core CPU
  2. Dedicated NVIDIA K1100M 1GB workstation class graphic card.
  3. Windows 7 Pro: Free Window 10 Pro Upgrade upon Request.
  4. 256 or 512GB SSD for improved responsiveness and booting speed.
  5. 16 or 32GB of DDR3L RAM
  6. Supports up to 32GB (4x8GB) of RAM, with the four RAM modules being easily accessible.
  7. 1920 x 1080 or 2880 x 1620 resolution
  8. On the higher-end, 2880 x 1620 display: IPS panel, more accurate colors, better contrast, wider viewing angles
  9. Sharp semi-matte screen
  10. HDMI, VGA and Thunderbolt outputs
  11. 2x USB 3.0 ports and 2x USB 2.0 ports
  12. Bluetooth 4.0
  13. ExpressCard/34
  14. Great build quality
  15. Trackpoint
  16. Great keyboard layout
  17. Numpad
  18. Backlit keyboard
  19. Easy maintenance: Four RAM slots, the 2.5″ drive bayand the wireless card are easily accessible via panels.
  20. Removable battery
  21. Docking connector to add a docking station for extra ports.
  22. Laptop stays relatively quiet unless you push it under a sustained heavy workload and even then, isn’t particularly loud.
  23. Cooling is good enough to prevent throttling due to overheating.
  24. RJ-45 LAN Ethernet port
  25. 802.11ac WiFi
  26. Fingerprint reader
  27. Optical drive
  28. 720p Webcam

Cons:

  1. Poor battery life : up to 4 hours while web surfing with WiFi, with a new battery. Refurbished units batteries won’t last that long.
  2. On the lower-end, 1920 x 1080 display: TN panel: contrast, color vibrancy and viewing angles are lower than with an IPS panel.
  3. No USB Type-C

Upgrade your Laptop:

Upgrade your RAM:

RAM can easily be upgraded on most laptops. Do note that some laptops cannot be upgraded at all, due to their unique design. A quick google search should provide that info. Feel free to ask me in the comment section if you aren’t sure and can’t find the info.

Visit The Best Computer Memory (RAM) article for my recommendations. Note that you’ll want SODIMM RAM, either DDR3 or DDR4 depending on your laptop.

Upgrade your hard drive:

You can upgrade your hard drive to a faster and/or a larger hard drive. See our article on The Best Hard Drives (HDD) For Your Money and scroll down to the best 2.5″ hard drives for my recommendations.

Some laptops accept hard drives with a 7mm height, others with a 9.5mm height.

Upgrade to a SSD or upgrade your current SSD to get higher capacity and/or higher performance!

A SSD (Solid State Drive) is far faster than a hard drive (See our SSD FAQ) and it also consumes less power than a hard drive, so replacing a hard drive by a SSD will slightly boost your laptop’s battery life.

If you want to upgrade your hard drive to a SSD, I recommend that you read our The Best SSDs (Solid State Drives) For Your Money article.

I also recommend getting an external hard drive enclosure, so you can put your hard drive in it and use it for additional storage

When you replace the hard drive that your laptop came with, I recommend putting it in the Sabrent USB 3.0 2.5″ SATA Hard Drive Enclosure from Amazon or from B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

This particular enclosure comes with a retractable cable that is connected to the enclosure, so you don’t lose/forget it and it makes the whole package more compact too. It comes with an extension cord if you need it.

Looking for a different external case or need a specific cable? Leave a comment if you need assistance with finding what’s best for your needs.

USB DVD and Blu-Ray Drives

If your laptop doesn’t come with an optical drive and you want one, here are my recommendations for external USB optical drives.

USB DVD Burner

The LG GP60NB50 8x, from Amazon or from B&H (Worldwide Shipping), is the one with the best customer reviews.

USB Blu-Ray Burner

I recommend three USB Blu-Ray burner. Make sure to plug them in an USB 3.0 port to get the maximum speed possible.

In order of price and burning speed:
Pioneer BDR-XD05S 6x, from Amazon or $74.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– ASUS BW-12D1S-U 12x from Amazon or $99.50 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

OWC Mercury Pro External USB 3.0 16x Blu Ray reader/writer, $129.95 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

WiFi routers, WiFi Adapters and Bluetooth adapter:

Need a WiFi router, an USB WiFi adapter or an USB Bluetooth adapter for your laptop? Check out our recommendations for The Best WiFi Routers, Best WiFi Adapters and Bluetooth Adapter.

External storage drive

Do you want to buy a external storage drive for extra storage or backup? Check out our recommendations for the Best External Hard Drives, SSDs and Flash Drives.

Conclusion

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this article.

With this being such a long article with many recommendations and alternatives, you may find some typos.

Alternatively, you may believe that there’s a better option than my recommendation.

Or you may have some questions.

In any case, please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you, to help find the best laptop for your needs and to answer your questions.